SEO - 7/12 - Digital Marketing Agency

Google To Start Blocking Keyword Referrer

By | Google News, PPC, SEO | No Comments

The big news in search this week is that Google announced it will start blocking keyword referrer for natural search where people are logged in to their Google account, by making SSL (a secure encryption protocol called Secure Sockets Layer) active by default for those logged in. Note, that this keyword restriction won’t apply for visits through Pay Per Click ads. SSL is an extra layer of security, and if it is active on your Google account, you will see the URL change from http to https, and maybe the little padlock icon on your browser.

The Concern

For SEO, this raises the concern of not being able to identify which keywords people are arriving to your site using.  Analytics data will still show that people are coming from Google search, but not what that search was. This will affect all analytics packages, including Google Analytics.

In your analytics keyword report, you will now see “not provided” instead of a search term, for all logged in users of natural search. You will still see search terms for those people not logged in, and PPC referred traffic.

Matt Cutts, the Google engineer, seems to be saying that this will impact less than 10% of all Google searchers on Google.com. (All I have to say to this, as an SEO, is thank gosh Google Plus has not yet been fantastically successful!)

Although there will still be a huge amount of data available on keyword referral, this trend for increased privacy is not going to go away, and it is likely that sometime in the future there will be a situation where analytics data will be significantly restricted compared to what it is now. No, it won’t be the death of Search marketing, you will still want to be able to promote your site to your customers right? But we are getting a lot more information now than we might in the future – this is the Wild West, the frontier land, and soon the rules and regulations will catch up to us.

See Keyword Referrers in Webmaster Tools

Over the last few weeks, there has been an increased integration between Google WMT and Google Analytics, perhaps compensation because they knew this bomb was coming. You will still be able to see the top 1,000 terms you were shown for, and were clicked on, in WMT (but only for the last 30 days), including those blocked by SSL. It will be interesting to compare the KW data still available in Analytics with this overall KW data to see differences.

While the KW data in WMT is useful, it isn’t a replacement for KW data in analytics, because first of all it only goes back 30 days, and secondly, you can’t see what people did once they arrived – is that keyword good for conversion or did everyone from that term leave the site in a hurry?

Keyword Referrers Still Available in PPC

If you are logged in to your Google account, your search term will still be traced if you click on a PPC ad.

I guess it might technically not be very ‘evil’, but the fact that they are going to ignore their new security rules for their paid customers is making people at least question how ‘nice’ Google is. It is hypocritical to introduce this new security feature for only a section of the audience, to try to appease privacy concerns, but ignore the privacy of users who click on the ads. Basically, Google are saying that privacy is important enough to introduce this change, but not important enough when compared to advertising dollars.

Of course, from a business perspective you can understand why they did it – but, if the logged in users are less than 10% of the searchers, surely this means there is still enough data to measure performance on from those 90%? As an advisor to Google Adwords advertisers, of course I want as much information as possible for my clients – but I still think the rule should be the same regardless of whether you clicked on an ad or a free listing, because privacy is equally important in either case. (Actually Google thought that free clicks might be related to more personal/private searches, but I think this is clutching at straws).

Strangely, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) said only this about the disparity in paid and free clicks privacy

“There is one small caveat that users should be aware of with the new encrypted-when-logged-in Google. If you click on an advertisement, and the advertiser’s website is HTTP rather than HTTPS, Google will send the search terms for that specific query to the advertiser over HTTP.”

I expected more of an outcry.

So that’s the new Google change. We aren’t going to go from our current analytics information to zero – but we are slowly headed towards a world where we will have a lot less data. Like any business or technology, evolution happens, and we will have to deal with it as it comes.

Why You Should Care Less About Rankings

By | SEO | No Comments

One of the things that irritates me in the world of SEO are the crazy ‘guarantees’ that some agencies put forward regarding rankings.

‘We guarantee number 1 rankings!’ Well, first of all, you cannot guarantee number one rankings, only Google could do that (if they wanted to, which they don’t). Secondly, many of these agencies will consider this job done when they get your site to number 1 for the most obscure term you could imagine “I TOLD you we’d get you to number 1 for West Unanderra Spigot Sellers”.

Sure when we start an SEO campaign we start with a list of keywords we want to target, and YES we do want those keywords to get high rankings. BUT, we don’t want our clients to judge us solely on those rankings. We want our clients to see how those high rankings have translated to higher traffic to their site, and contributed to their bottom line through sales or new leads. We want to show them how search marketing has improved their site for users, making conversions more likely. We want our clients to want so much more than high rankings.

Why Not To Care About Rankings

  • Tracking only the rankings of your targetted keywords may also make you miss out on a goldmine of other ‘seo’ traffic – Long tail traffic. Long tail keywords are all those millions of keywords which are low volume individually, but when added together make up a significant (huge) amount of your traffic. Concentrating only on ‘ranking’ certain keywords can mean losing focus of the potential of what ‘all’ your users want, and what ‘all’ your content can offer them.
  • Valuing your agency only on rankings may mean that your site comes out looking worse than it went in – sure it’s optimised, and sure it’s on page one – but if it is ugly, confusing and scaring away your customers, it isn’t adding value to your business.
  • And how about integrated search – the video’s, realtime and Google maps results peppered through page 1, pushing other Page 1 ranked sites, down to page 2.  SEO is no longer about the top 10 web pages, it is about a mix of media types showing on Page 1. How do you get your clients there?
  • Another Google innovation rendering top 10 results less than optimal – Personalisation. With localisation and personalisation it is becoming less and less likely that the page of results for any given term will be the same for any given people. Results are being adjusted due to your history and location, meaning top 10 sites will not necessairly be the same for everyone.

Being in the top 10 is great, but getting ever increasing relevant traffic which improves your bottom line is even better! You should judge your agency on this second criteria, not the first.

 

Thorough Keyword Research in 10 StepsThorough Keyword Research in 10 StepsThorough Keyword Research in 10 StepsThorough Keyword Research in 10 Steps

By | SEO | No Comments

The Google Keyword Tool is an essential piece of kit for any Search Marketer, helping you to gauge volumes and related keywords, to bring relevant traffic to your site.

However, using one tool for keyword research is the equivalent of trusting one hotel review – you’re putting a lot of faith in something which could be only one side of the story.

The following are the steps I undertake for thorough keyword research, and at each step I add to my potential keyword list, finally using the Google Keyword Tool and client needs to prioritise and rationalise.

Step 1Ask the Client! They know the industry

While you might disagree with your client’s ideas of which keywords  are important, you should still ask. After all, they are probably going to be more knowledgeable about their particular industry than you.

Step 2 – Thorough check of the website

We all know that what your client thinks is an important keyword, is not necessarily going to turn up on their website. So, the next step is to look carefully through your client’s site. How does it talk about it’s products and services? Write down as many keywords from the site as possible. This is such a basic task, but often people overlook it, and assume they know all about the client’s products.

Step 3Spy on competitors

To this list, add similar keywords from competitors sites. How do THEY talk about the products and services? It could be different and give you some ideas and opportunities.

Step 4Talk to the people

Look outside the official industry, to forums or blogs which discuss the topic. Blogs and forums are populated with customers, and since customers are the ones searching for your products, you should try and speak their language

Step 5Find out the latest

Related to number 4 – check out ‘discussion’ around your product, which could be on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, the news, or any other up to date site. This will give you the absolute latest in the industry, and make sure you aren’t basing your keyword research on terms which are old hat, or being phased out. Don’t base all your keyword research on history, try and see where it is going

Step 6 – Analytics and Pay Per Click Info

If it has analytics in place, look at which keywords are already bringing traffic to the site. Compare those terms with rankings for those terms, and you could see where an increase in rankings might bring significant increase in traffic. If using Adwords or other paid search marketing – look at the ‘actual terms searched’ – if you aren’t ranking for those terms, there’s a big opportunity right there

Step 7 – Other Google Tools

Use Other Google tools to expand your keyword list. E.g. Wonder Wheel, related searches and Google sets.

Step 8 – Other Branded Keyword Tools

Use other branded keyword tools, like WordTracker. I prefer Google because in Australia that is where I feel we get the best information. Other keyword tools work very well in the USA, but as we know, the English used here and there is very different. Still, it can be useful to get ideas. Keyword tools seem to come and go (apart from Google’s), so it is best to use industry blogs and forums to find out which of the latest ones are the best.

Step 9YES, the Google Keyword Tool

I said this was the last step, but actually the last step needs some more interaction with your client, so this can be the second last step. Use the Google Keyword Tool, by importing all the keywords you already found in your research. I put the most emphasis on this tool, because in Australia, Google has more than the lion’s share of the search traffic.

Step 10 – Make Sure they’re alright with the Client

Similar to the first step, the last step involves talking with your client (shock!). You need buy in from your client to make changes to their website, so you need them to help choose the final keywords. You will probably want to get help from the marketers, copywriters, product managers or communications staff, to cut your big keyword list down to the most important ones for the client.The Google Keyword Tool is an essential piece of kit for any Search Marketer, helping you to gauge volumes and related keywords, to bring relevant traffic to your site.

 

However, using one tool for keyword research is the equivalent of trusting one hotel review – you’re putting a lot of faith in something which could be only one side of the story.
 
The following are the steps I undertake for thorough keyword research, and at each step I add to my potential keyword list, finally using the Google Keyword Tool and client needs to prioritise and rationalise.
 
Step 1Ask the Client! They know the industry
 
While you might disagree with your client’s ideas of which keywords  are important, you should still ask. After all, they are probably going to be more knowledgeable about their particular industry than you.
 
Step 2 – Thorough check of the website
 
We all know that what your client thinks is an important keyword, is not necessarily going to turn up on their website. So, the next step is to look carefully through your client’s site. How does it talk about it’s products and services? Write down as many keywords from the site as possible. This is such a basic task, but often people overlook it, and assume they know all about the client’s products.
 
Step 3Spy on competitors
 
To this list, add similar keywords from competitors sites. How do THEY talk about the products and services? It could be different and give you some ideas and opportunities.
 
Step 4Talk to the people
 
Look outside the official industry, to forums or blogs which discuss the topic. Blogs and forums are populated with customers, and since customers are the ones searching for your products, you should try and speak their language
 
Step 5Find out the latest
 
Related to number 4 – check out ‘discussion’ around your product, which could be on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, the news, or any other up to date site. This will give you the absolute latest in the industry, and make sure you aren’t basing your keyword research on terms which are old hat, or being phased out. Don’t base all your keyword research on history, try and see where it is going
 
Step 6 – Analytics and Pay Per Click Info
 
If it has analytics in place, look at which keywords are already bringing traffic to the site. Compare those terms with rankings for those terms, and you could see where an increase in rankings might bring significant increase in traffic. If using Adwords or other paid search marketing – look at the ‘actual terms searched’ – if you aren’t ranking for those terms, there’s a big opportunity right there
 
Step 7 – Other Google Tools

 
Use Other Google tools to expand your keyword list. E.g. Wonder Wheel, related searches and Google sets.
 
Step 8 – Other Branded Keyword Tools
 
Use other branded keyword tools, like WordTracker. I prefer Google because in Australia that is where I feel we get the best information. Other keyword tools work very well in the USA, but as we know, the English used here and there is very different. Still, it can be useful to get ideas. Keyword tools seem to come and go (apart from Google’s), so it is best to use industry blogs and forums to find out which of the latest ones are the best.
 
Step 9YES, the Google Keyword Tool
 
I said this was the last step, but actually the last step needs some more interaction with your client, so this can be the second last step. Use the Google Keyword Tool, by importing all the keywords you already found in your research. I put the most emphasis on this tool, because in Australia, Google has more than the lion’s share of the search traffic.
 
Step 10 – Make Sure they’re alright with the Client
 
Similar to the first step, the last step involves talking with your client. You need buy in from your client to make changes to their website, so you need them to help choose the final keywords. You will probably want to get help from the marketers, copywriters, product managers or communications staff, to cut your big keyword list down to the most important ones for the client.
 
The Google Keyword Tool is an essential piece of kit for any Search Marketer, helping you to gauge volumes and related keywords, to bring relevant traffic to your site.

However, using one tool for keyword research is the equivalent of trusting one hotel review – you’re putting a lot of faith in something which could be only one side of the story.

The following are the steps I undertake for thorough keyword research, and at each step I add to my potential keyword list, finally using the Google Keyword Tool and client needs to prioritise and rationalise.

Step 1Ask the Client! They know the industry

While you might disagree with your client’s ideas of which keywords  are important, you should still ask. After all, they are probably going to be more knowledgeable about their particular industry than you.

Step 2 – Thorough check of the website

We all know that what your client thinks is an important keyword, is not necessarily going to turn up on their website. So, the next step is to look carefully through your client’s site. How does it talk about it’s products and services? Write down as many keywords from the site as possible. This is such a basic task, but often people overlook it, and assume they know all about the client’s products.

Step 3Spy on competitors

To this list, add similar keywords from competitors sites. How do THEY talk about the products and services? It could be different and give you some ideas and opportunities.

Step 4Talk to the people

Look outside the official industry, to forums or blogs which discuss the topic. Blogs and forums are populated with customers, and since customers are the ones searching for your products, you should try and speak their language

Step 5Find out the latest

Related to number 4 – check out ‘discussion’ around your product, which could be on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, the news, or any other up to date site. This will give you the absolute latest in the industry, and make sure you aren’t basing your keyword research on terms which are old hat, or being phased out. Don’t base all your keyword research on history, try and see where it is going

Step 6 – Analytics and Pay Per Click Info

If it has analytics in place, look at which keywords are already bringing traffic to the site. Compare those terms with rankings for those terms, and you could see where an increase in rankings might bring significant increase in traffic. If using Adwords or other paid search marketing – look at the ‘actual terms searched’ – if you aren’t ranking for those terms, there’s a big opportunity right there

Step 7 – Other Google Tools

Use Other Google tools to expand your keyword list. E.g. Wonder Wheel, related searches and Google sets.

Step 8 – Other Branded Keyword Tools

Use other branded keyword tools, like WordTracker. I prefer Google because in Australia that is where I feel we get the best information. Other keyword tools work very well in the USA, but as we know, the English used here and there is very different. Still, it can be useful to get ideas. Keyword tools seem to come and go (apart from Google’s), so it is best to use industry blogs and forums to find out which of the latest ones are the best.

Step 9YES, the Google Keyword Tool

I said this was the last step, but actually the last step needs some more interaction with your client, so this can be the second last step. Use the Google Keyword Tool, by importing all the keywords you already found in your research. I put the most emphasis on this tool, because in Australia, Google has more than the lion’s share of the search traffic.

Step 10 – Make Sure they’re alright with the Client

Similar to the first step, the last step involves talking with your client (shock!). You need buy in from your client to make changes to their website, so you need them to help choose the final keywords. You will probably want to get help from the marketers, copywriters, product managers or communications staff, to cut your big keyword list down to the most important ones for the client.The Google Keyword Tool is an essential piece of kit for any Search Marketer, helping you to gauge volumes and related keywords, to bring relevant traffic to your site.

However, using one tool for keyword research is the equivalent of trusting one hotel review – you’re putting a lot of faith in something which could be only one side of the story.

The following are the steps I undertake for thorough keyword research, and at each step I add to my potential keyword list, finally using the Google Keyword Tool and client needs to prioritise and rationalise.

Step 1Ask the Client! They know the industry

While you might disagree with your client’s ideas of which keywords  are important, you should still ask. After all, they are probably going to be more knowledgeable about their particular industry than you.

Step 2 – Thorough check of the website

We all know that what your client thinks is an important keyword, is not necessarily going to turn up on their website. So, the next step is to look carefully through your client’s site. How does it talk about it’s products and services? Write down as many keywords from the site as possible. This is such a basic task, but often people overlook it, and assume they know all about the client’s products.

Step 3Spy on competitors

To this list, add similar keywords from competitors sites. How do THEY talk about the products and services? It could be different and give you some ideas and opportunities.

Step 4Talk to the people

Look outside the official industry, to forums or blogs which discuss the topic. Blogs and forums are populated with customers, and since customers are the ones searching for your products, you should try and speak their language

Step 5Find out the latest

Related to number 4 – check out ‘discussion’ around your product, which could be on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, the news, or any other up to date site. This will give you the absolute latest in the industry, and make sure you aren’t basing your keyword research on terms which are old hat, or being phased out. Don’t base all your keyword research on history, try and see where it is going

Step 6 – Analytics and Pay Per Click Info

If it has analytics in place, look at which keywords are already bringing traffic to the site. Compare those terms with rankings for those terms, and you could see where an increase in rankings might bring significant increase in traffic. If using Adwords or other paid search marketing – look at the ‘actual terms searched’ – if you aren’t ranking for those terms, there’s a big opportunity right there

Step 7 – Other Google Tools

Use Other Google tools to expand your keyword list. E.g. Wonder Wheel, related searches and Google sets.

Step 8 – Other Branded Keyword Tools

Use other branded keyword tools, like WordTracker. I prefer Google because in Australia that is where I feel we get the best information. Other keyword tools work very well in the USA, but as we know, the English used here and there is very different. Still, it can be useful to get ideas. Keyword tools seem to come and go (apart from Google’s), so it is best to use industry blogs and forums to find out which of the latest ones are the best.

Step 9YES, the Google Keyword Tool

I said this was the last step, but actually the last step needs some more interaction with your client, so this can be the second last step. Use the Google Keyword Tool, by importing all the keywords you already found in your research. I put the most emphasis on this tool, because in Australia, Google has more than the lion’s share of the search traffic.

Step 10 – Make Sure they’re alright with the Client

Similar to the first step, the last step involves talking with your client (shock!). You need buy in from your client to make changes to their website, so you need them to help choose the final keywords. You will probably want to get help from the marketers, copywriters, product managers or communications staff, to cut your big keyword list down to the most important ones for the client.

SEO and The Importance of Being in Google Places

By | SEO | No Comments

I wrote the other day about the useful ways you can use Google Places for link building, and today I am going to tell you why you should be in Google Places yourself. (Note, Google Places was previously known as Google Local Business)

First, before I start, I must admit that this might not be a relevant strategy for every business in the world. However, it is ultra useful for businesses which have a store front, serve certain locations, or even those which just have customers in a certain city. The reason Google Places is important is that for many terms, and not only location terms, they give you an alternative (or additional) way to appear on page 1.

Traditionally, you might optimise your Google Places page and hope to get into the local search results, like here for the term “Sydney Hairdressers”.

Google Places and SEO

You can see here that no matter how hard your SEO works, you have to scroll down to see it, because the top of the page is dominated by Google Places posts and Google Adwords ads.

To get a high position for this term, you need to buy an ad, or have a Google Places page. The Google Places page is a good option, because similar to your normal website, you can optimise it, try and get it higher, and not have to pay for any clicks on it.

These kind of results will be very common for many local searches you try, but, you might be surprised to know that even if searchers don’t use a location in their query, they can get shown Google Places pages. See here, where we typed only ‘hairdresser’, and four entries down is the Google Places results section.

Optimising Google Places

Imagine how much more likely it would be for someone to click on your link if you had a Google Ad, a Google Places Page and a normal natural result all on page 1!

To get into Google Places is so easy – just log in to Google, and then go to Google Places. It will let you add a business, as long as you have a phone number for it. Note that you will need a business phone number or address for Google to be able to verify your listing.

When completing your Google Places page, include as much information as possible, filling out all the fields you can, upload images, and try and use keywords where you can (but don’t make it ridiculous).

If you have multiple business locations, you can put all this information into a spreadsheet and upload it in one go. However, in this case, your verification method will need to be a bit different, and the instructions will be given to you when you upload.

This page 1 ‘real estate’ idea can be extended to other kinds of entries as well. Google also often runs News results, real time discussions, pictures or video’s on their page 1. So, if you have search terms or products which are relevant to those mediums, try optimising for those as well, to get even more page 1 real estate.

One New Idea To Help Achieve Your Sales Goals REQUEST YOUR FREE SPARK